Foster Care & Courts

A child in foster care faces many hurdles growing up and becoming a productive adult. And every child in the foster care system has a judge who oversees all aspects of the child’s life. Their decisions range from where the child lives and goes to school, when they can visit their family, and who can help the child. Texas Appleseed has researched best practices for the courts and the legal system to assure that children in long-term foster care find permanent homes as quickly as possible. We also work on issues to help older foster youth make as smooth a transition as possible into adulthood.


  • Through the Austin Hack-for-Change Hackathon, Texas Appleseed worked with developers, programmers, and coders to help design a tool for youth “aging out” of foster care that would offer a secure, web-based place to store all of their vital documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and medical records. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is now using this technology as a template for a solution.
  • With the Children’s Commission, DFPS, and other partners, Texas Appleseed has helped train hundreds of judges, lawyers, CASA advocates and others in how to improve the legal system so that children can find permanent homes sooner.
  • Texas Appleseed’s landmark research on promising court practices for children in long-term care helped change practices of judges and DFPS, and is resulting in fewer children languishing in the foster care system.


  • Over the last few years, more than 500 foster children in long-term care have found permanent homes when judges and others changed their practices as a result of the advocacy of Appleseed and others.
  • More than 400 judges, prosecutors, attorneys and others now trained in best practices so that more foster children find permanent homes.
  • Released a major report commissioned by the Supreme Court of Texas’ Children’s Commission on the role of the courts and judicial system in helping improve the lives of children in long-term foster care.

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